Being a Vegetarian for a Week | Krizzel Mapaye

The backstory for a life-changing week started on the 7th floor, in the canteen on a normal school day. Fuelled by my friends’ remarks of being vegan for a week, I decided to become a vegetarian for moral support. However as their vegan plans completely fell apart, I was left with planning a whole week for eating vegetables for seven whole days without eating any form of meat.

Despite many people’s disbelief and comments of starting this challenge, I found it incredibly easy to do, seeing how I heavily dislike the taste of meat and only prefer the taste of chicken. However having parents that constantly cook meat forced me to cook every day and create dishes that would fill me up and quick to make. Being a student, time is definitely of the essence and with the lack of sleep and growing pile of homework it was hard to fit in time to create flavoursome dishes. But this was easily fixed with a meal plan that was armed with a variety of recipes and spices. It made me experiment with cooking in a way I didn’t expect especially with texture. Eating mostly soft vegetables gets tiring after a while until you try a different angle by adding a mix of different vegetables of different textures. Add some seasonings and you have a great meal without any extensive experience in cooking.

As I spent almost an hour every day making stir fries and a particularly delicious potato hash (thank you Internet!), it had made me realise what I was actually putting in my body and how this affected my health in general. Even though I believed I was rarely eating meat on a day to day basis, I quickly found out this was not the case. By cutting meat for a week, I realised I rarely missed the taste and texture of other biological organisms within my body. However, being vegetarian still had its own struggles, making dishes when you rarely have any energy after a long day of school almost made me throw the metaphorical towel.

It had made me appreciate the time my parents took to make food despite being tired after a long day at work. Yet I did break the not eating meat rule twice. Despite my vow of going cold turkey, all I can say is fatigue and freshly made fried chicken is what eventually made me give in.

Even though January is well known for dieting after a month of every day feasting, this week wasn’t necessarily a detox week or trying to get into shape as a New Year’s Resolution. What I’ve learnt during the week was the lack of options as a vegetarian in our canteen and how people perceive vegetarianism as something lesser even though it is better for the environment than meat. Moreover, it made me understand the underlying struggles my vegetarian friends were facing for something simple as not eating meat. Before I accidentally provoke any meat-lovers, to anyone interested in indulging a sudden urge to become vegetarian, try a whole day of being vegetarian…it’s not that bad after all.

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